Tag Archives: Jonathan Levine

Why ‘Warm Bodies’ Is a Fresh Spin on Rotting Corpses

R-and-JulieAre you thinking Warm Bodies is Twilight with zombies? Or how about Twilight meets Shaun of the Dead? Let’s nix both concepts right away because that most certainly is not the case. And that assessment isn’t just coming from someone who’s a big-time fan of the book and truly believes it’s the fresh young adult supernatural romance we’ve been waiting for; it’s also coming straight from the Warm Bodies director, Jonathan Levine, and his cast.

While hanging out in a dilapidated waiting room on the Warm Bodies set at the Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, Levine laughs and notes, “I’ve read some things on the Internet that say it’s Twilight meets Shaun of the Dead, which, to me, sounds like the worst f***ing movie I’ve ever heard.” And remember that all-too-familiar-looking first promotional image of Teresa Palmer’s human character, Julie, cozying up to Nicholas Hoult’s zombie, R? Palmer actually doesn’t quash the connection to Twilight, but rather embraces it. “Look, I have to say, it’s very flattering that people are comparing our film to Twilight.” She adds, “If we have even half the level of success of that movie, I think we’d all be very happy, but having said that, it’s such a different film. It’s almost a little darker, a little edgier. I understand that there’s a relationship between the mortal and the immortal, but apart from that, that’s where the comparisons really should end because it is its own different story.”

The story comes from the mind of author Isaac Marion, and rather than tell the tale from the perspective of zombie-apocalypse survivors, Marion’s protagonist is a member of the living dead. R behaves like a zombie – eating flesh, grunting and lumbering around – but deep down, a piece of his human self lives and, thanks to the spark that ignites between R and Julie, that piece starts to grow.

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Review: Warm Bodies

Warm-Bodies-PosterThe key to restarting a zombie’s heart is a pretty girl. The key to making a big screen supernatural/human relationship work is lightening up.

We’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and R (Nicholas Hoult) is amongst the living dead. He calls a defunct airport home and spends his days lumbering around, occasionally bumping into or grunting at his zombie cohorts until they’re hungry enough to venture into the big city for some eats. While R does find something tasty to gnaw on, he also encounters some unexpected eye candy – Julie (Teresa Palmer). Rather than make Julie the next item on his menu, R vows to keep her safe, shielding her from his flesh-eating buddies and escorting her to the airport.

A vampire/human romance is one thing, but a zombie/human relationship is an especially tough sell. The “Warm Bodies” book takes itself very seriously but, thanks to effective narration, quality character development and the power of a reader’s imagination, it’s easy to get on board. With the audience’s imagination no longer in play with the big screen version, presenting “Warm Bodies” in a dark, dramatic fashion would have made it nearly impossible to convey the story in a believable manner. However, Jonathan Levine manages to adapt the source material in the best possible way, keeping key plot points and character details intact, but infusing the tale with an unexpected yet wildly appropriate degree of humor.

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See What Happened When We Played a Zombie in ‘Warm Bodies’

Perri-Warm-Bodies-WardrobeIn a post-apocalyptic world ridden with zombies, the goal is always not to become one yourself. But c’mon, who hasn’t wondered what they’d look like lumbering around decked out in grimy zombie garb? Well, my day in the living dead spotlight finally arrived! I got the opportunity to hit the set of Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies, have the life sucked out of me and join R (Nicholas Hoult) on set for a run-in with the Bonies.

Things kicked off bright and early with a group of nice, clean reporters congregating in a hotel lobby, waiting for the production van to arrive and take us to set at the Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, a location you might remember from The Terminal. However, Hugo Boss and Viktor Navorski’s home sweet home, Gate 67, are long gone and the location has been transformed into the Isaac Marion International Airport, named after the author of the book Warm Bodies.

“We try to make people look like these are the clothes they wore when they died …”

But before we trekked through the airport ruins, it was straight into wardrobe. For those of you who’ve met me in the flesh, you know I’m more of a jeans, T-shirt and Vans type of girl. Apparently nobody informed the Warm Bodies wardrobe department because there was a low-cut shirt, skirt and high-heel boots waiting for me to slip into. As costume designer George L. Little explained, “We try to make people look like these are the clothes they wore when they died, not just a costume, so try to dress to the face before the makeup.” I don’t know what it is about my face that says business lady, club-goer crossover, but hey, I’m about to become a zombie — might as well go all in!

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Review: 50/50

When word of this “cancer comedy” hit, the hot question was, “Can cancer be funny?” Not only is the answer to that a solid yes, but director Jonathan Levine and writer Will Reiser make a dismal subject humorous in the most honorable way possible. You may look and sound ridiculous when 50/50 makes you laugh and cry at the same time, but the embarrassment is well worth it.

Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is your average 27-year-old. He enjoys hanging out with his best buddy, Kyle (Seth Rogen), is working hard to build a career in the radio industry and is attempting to take his relationship with Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) another step forward. Everything Adam’s worked for up until this point is thrown entirely off-kilter when he gets some shocking news; Adam has cancer.

From that point on, everything changes. Kyle opts to use his friend’s situation to his advantage, seeking sympathy from girls, Rachael struggles with whether or not she’s capable of committing herself to the situation and Adam’s mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), swoops in whether her son likes it or not. The there’s the required therapy sessions. The hospital assigns Adam to Katherine (Anna Kendrick), a 24-year-old pursuing a doctorate and in need of training patients. Not only is his whole existence turned upside down, but Adam must also come to terms with the fact that his chance of survival is merely 50/50.

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